HAVILAND, ROBERT E. (9 Nov. 1914 – 24 Jan. 2003). was a filmmaker, musician, and life-long resident of the Cleveland area. Haviland was a still photographer in the 1930s when he was assigned to take photos for H. H. Timken at the Timken Roller Bearing Company in Canton. The images so moved Timken that he cajoled young Haviland into making a film with a $10,000 advance.
Soon after, Haviland took a job as an Executive Producer with CINECRAFT PRODUCTIONS, a Cleveland-based SPONSORED FILM studio. He remained with Cinecraft until he retired. Several major Cleveland companies were his clients: U.S. STEEL CORP., the WESTERN ELECTRIC CO., and The CLEVELAND ELECTRIC ILLUMINATING CO.
His most notable work is Where’s Joe? (1972), a prophetic documentary that takes a deep look at the impending crisis for the American steel industry. The "Joe" in the movie title refers to the "Joes" who no longer have jobs in U.S. steel mills because of increased imported steel. "Joe has been replaced by Jose, Hans, or Toshika, all productive steelworkers, but not in the U.S.," the narrator says.
In the 1950s, 60's and 70's, the United Steelworkers union and the U.S. steel companies renegotiated contracts on a three-year cycle. Each contentious cycle allowed foreign steelmakers to gain a more significant foothold in the global steel market. After a long and bitter strike in 1971, many U.S. mills found themselves dramatically reducing operations, more than 200,000 steelworkers were laid off, and most U.S. mills posted heavy operating losses. Because steel is a critical component for many American-made products, the slightest possibility that bargaining might result in a strike set up "hedge buying" to accumulate inventories just in case shipments are shut off. Where’s Joe? was designed to convince labor that strikes – even talks of strikes - were harmful. The film is credited with helping the union and steel companies get the first "no-strike" negotiation in the U.S. steel industry.
Where’s Joe? was a joint venture between the United Steel Workers union led by I. W. Abel and the management of the top U.S. steel companies. Much to the chagrin of rank and file union members, the union leaders worked directly with a team from REPUBLIC STEEL, U.S. Steel Corporation, and a host of other steel companies. Haviland was the glue that held these two often adversarial groups together to create this film.
An article on the movie in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said the Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp’s Steubenville plant bought nine copies of the film and ran the film 200 times. Two projectors ran around the clock. An estimated 18,000 people saw the movie on company time.
An accomplished musician, Haviland played tuba in orchestras and dance bands, and performed regularly with such notables as Guy Lombardo, Glenn Miller, and The Metropolitan Opera. Haviland won a national championship with an instrument borrowed from West Tech High School, which inspired Henderson N. White to sponsor him with King Instruments. He continued as an active member of the American Federation of Musicians for over 40 years.
He was actively involved with the CLEVELAND SOCIETY FOR THE BLIND for 44 years, for whom he made many fund-raising films. He was a member of the American Federation of Musicians, the National Academy of Television Arts & Society, and the Masons, Fairview Lodge.
Active in genealogy, Haviland’s family’s place in American history was of great interest to him. Haviland was an officer of the Order of Founders and Patriots of America; a member of the Sons of the American Revolution; a member by right of descent in the Ancient & Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts; a member of Society of the Descendants of the Founders of Hartford Connecticut; a member of the Flagon & Trencher, and a lifetime member of The Huguenot Society of Ohio.
In 1999, Haviland, and Paul Culley, an owner of Cinecraft, recorded their thoughts on their careers for a documentary, “An Afternoon with Cinecraft: Past and Present.” The 3-hour interview is posted on the Hagley Library website.
Haviland married Jean Saloma Starr of Cleveland in 1939. They had one son, Donald. His partner for over 40 years was Margaret June Beebe. When he died, Haviland was living in ROCKY RIVER. He is buried in Lakewood Park Cemetery in Rocky River.
An Afternoon with Cinecraft: Past and Present. In this 1999 interview, Paul Culley and Bob Haviland discuss their careers in the motion picture business and the more important films they worked on. Haviland recounts how he started as an industrial photographer and became involved in motion picture filmmaking. His early career included work producing slide films for industrial training and education. The company he worked for bought Tri-State, and that is how he met Ray Culley and started working at Cinecraft.